The first in a series of low resource, easy preparation ideas for speaking activities in the class - online or face to face.
Hi- I’m Jo Gakonga from ELT-Training.com and in this video I’m going to tell you about one of my favourite classroom activities.
As you get more experience as a teacher, you start to accrue a raft of these kinds of ideas that you can pull out at short notice, perhaps to start a lesson or fill in a bit of left over time usefully.
They’re often speaking activities and two of the most vital ingredients for getting people to talk, I think, are personalisation – people usually like to talk about themselves and it’s the easiest thing to - and also throwing in a bit of a puzzle – making people think. This activity has both of these ingredients and its super-easy to set up and doesn’t need any resources. I’ve used this idea so many times and it’s a fantastic one especially when you have a new class. It’s called – if this is the answer, what is the question?
Think of three or four pieces of information that you are happy to share with your learners and write the answers to them in a short form on the board, around your name. These could be a date that you did something important, or a place that’s special to you for some reason. Here’s an example for me:
Jo – 2012 7 Sydney, Australia yes
You can make some of these answers quite ambiguous (yes!) if you like. Now, use your name as an example. Tell them that this is the answer, what’s the question? They’ll probably, even in the first class with you, know your name, so they’ll be able to do.. ‘What is your name? Make sure that they have got the idea that they have to make the exact QUESTION that this is the answer to (so, not, is that your name?- the answer to this is ‘yes’!)
OK- so now you ask them to work in pairs to talk about what the questions might be for the other answers and write them down. Do you want to think what they might be for me? Pause me for a minute and see if you can.
Give them a few minutes to try to do this, while you monitor and give hints about the content and corrections with the language, then elicit the possibilities from the class, correcting the question forms as you go along. If you’re curious, these are my questions!
The next stage, of course, is to ask them to do the same- they write three or four answers about themselves and let their partner guess the questions and talk about the answers- Oh, you’ve got 7 brothers and sisters- do you all get on? You can swap partners and do this two or three times, while you monitor and listen. This way, you’ll get to know THEM better as people as well as being able to see what kind of language work they need.
I hope that you have fun with this activity and if you like this video, there are lots of other resources for English teachers and trainees on my site- ELT-Training.com.